Name: John Corcoran
Position & Company: CEO & Co-founder, Cinemeet
Twitter ID: @CinemeetApp
Can you give a brief description of Cinemeet and what it does?
Cinemeet is a dating app that helps you find singles who are interested in going on a movie date tonight.
Why did you decide to create a dating app centred around cinema dates? Was there a specific inspiration behind the concept?
Many people are driven to meet new people spontaneously, but unfortunately there are not a lot of good apps for that. I wanted to create an app that was focused on the actual meeting.
A movie dating app was the ideal solution. Most people enjoy going to the movies, it’s also cheap, convenient and it can be combined with a stop at a bar or a restaurant for that really cozy evening.
After the explosion of mobile dating apps over the past few years, do you think many daters are looking for connections and services which result in more actual offline dates? If so, why?
There is a lot of noise on conventional dating apps. Being able to cut that out and instead focus on just meeting one person on the same night is more in line with what most people are looking for.
Not many dating apps have focused on creating specific offline dates, such as going to the movies. Why do you think this is, and why do you think Cinemeet can succeed doing this?
It’s been true in the past, but I see more and more dating apps focused on offline dates. I believe it comes down to personality – some prefer meeting their date at the gym, while others prefer to watch a movie and share a drink afterwards. There is actually a dating app for people who want to meet and work out together, it’s called Sprinter but it’s limited to the Nordic Countries.
When did the app launch, and how has the launch been?
We launched on the App Store in the summer of 2015. I was still living in Sweden and was operating the company on the side of my daytime job (I still do). We did not expect much since we did not have a large marketing budget, so when a couple of Swedish newspapers shared our story we were really surprised! One of them had a voting mechanism where a clear majority voted Cinemeet as a very useful service. I remember getting that feedback felt like a great success.
Our first app had some user experience issues and the business model wasn’t the best. We charged a fee to connect people and promised a money back guarantee if the date never happened.
It was hard to implement the model and it made the app difficult to use. So instead of marketing the app hard, we went back to the drawing board to create something we were sure was going to help people go on a date the same night. We just got done with our new app and we are waiting for Apple to release it on the App Store!
How many users do you have, and what is their general demographic make-up?
Our first app made it out to about 130 users spread between a number of different countries. See attached the screenshot below of the geographic demographics from iTunes Connect. This was basically done without any paid marketing and only a few articles in the press.
Our strategy for our new updated app is to market it via press as well as Facebook and through other paid media online. This way we can reach critical mass in selected cities.
Which markets are you focusing on at the moment?
Primarily the U.S and Los Angeles where I am located. We don’t limit Cinemeet to any certain countries but we want to focus all of our marketing on one city after another to make sure that we reach critical mass.
Are you trying to compete with the biggest dating apps like Tinder and Hinge, or are you looking to provide more of a niche service for moviegoers?
I do think there is a fundamental flaw in the majority of dating apps, so I hope the natural choice for our users is to go with Cinemeet instead of these apps. Most people are moviegoers, so that makes us a competitor to the big dating apps.
How do you plan to grow the app? (Marketing, PR and advertising strategies etc)
We are focusing on media buying where we are marketing our app through articles related to dating in one way or another. By publishing these articles ourselves and optimising conversions, we should be able to get a low user acquisition cost.
We are also considering sponsoring events and advertising the app directly towards moviegoers at movie theatres. Overall, our most prioritised marketing goal is to focus all efforts on Los Angeles until we reach critical mass.
How has the app changed since you first built it?
We have probably gone through five different concepts since we started. For a period we were designing a movie night planning service that had nothing to do with dating. When people still called it a dating app, we realised that we had ended up on a sidetrack and wasn’t necessarily solving a big problem.
Now all the focus is on making it simple to get on a successful date. This is why the app is free and chats between users close at 11pm. There is also a large button in the chat that says “Set a meetup location”, so users will be focused on that real life meeting.
Can you talk us through Cinemeet’s monetisation strategy? Do you have any other ways you plan to bring in revenue?
We believe an effective monetisation model is to offer a premium account. The premium account would allow users to view the full profile of other users, as well as go on an unlimited number of dates. Even if you don’t pay for Cinemeet, we still want it to be a great service, so we will make sure that free accounts are also able to enjoy a number of dates every month.
Are you looking to raise more funding?
Yes, we always are. We would love to receive funding from either a movie production company or a film distribution company. This could help us promote new movies to users and also generate revenue this way.
What are your plans for the app over the next year?
Besides marketing, our plan is to implement the subscription model, and work on improving users profiles. We also want to release some fun features like 3D touch features (works on iPhone 6) and an Apple Watch app.
For more information, visit Cinemeet’s official site.